Poggio Civitate is situated south-east of Murlo and it’s situated on the hills that separate the more recent alluvial areas from the older one of the Metallifere Hills that extend to the sea. The site is wooded and a large plane of 700 x 400 m at the top, at the high of 365 m, favoured the location.
That’s why the Etruscans settled in Poggio Civitate.
The discovery of the site is due to the intuition and the curiosity of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli who, spured by the finding of sporadic traces, suspected the possibility of an important settlement in the area.
In 1966 professor K. M. Phillis, obtained the license and started excavating with immediate interesting results.
The most ancient phase, called orientalizing, is characterized by the building of Poggio Civitate, rich in acroterial decoration.
This building, destroyed by fire before 600 B.C., was reconstructed one year later.
In 525 B.C. the inhabitants decided to abandon it after voluntary demolition; around the area an embankment of stone and soil was built up to prevent the access to the site.
The orientalizing palace was over 35 m long and 8 m wide, without any internal division, but probably with two floors, with the lower level used as a warehouse, as demonstrated by the remaining “pithoi” buried in the floor.
Majority of the most interesting finds has been discovered under the stratum of the ruins due to the fire and show us that the inhabitants were in a hurry to run away without time to take care of what they were leaving behind.
About 580 B.C. the residence was rebuilt on the ruins of the previous one in a greater dimension.
It was a four-sided building of 60 m, facing south-east, with corners where there were rooms giving the theory that they could be towers or they could give stability to the construction.
The 18 rooms were opened towards the internal courtyard with a three side arcades; on the fourth side there was a “templum” with the images of the guardian deities.
Outside the building, in an area at south-west, there was a workshop, where several craftsmen worked ceramics, gold, ivory and bronze. Furnaces for the reduction have been found nearby.
The acroterion of the palace was characteristic of tondo fictile figures representing seated characters with wide-brimmed hat and imaginery mythological figures.
The internal courtyard was, on the contrary, decorated with terracotta slabs representing convivial scenes, horse races and hunting scenes.
The findings of Poggio Civitate are kept in the Antiquarium of Poggio Civitate in the Palazzone of Murlo; they give a complete vision of the Etruscan daily life instead of what we are accustomed to see in other museums with finds from tombs and representing the cult of the dead persons.
The site, since it was discovered, is a yearly purpose of the excavations campaign from American Universities; in the recent years from the University Of Massachusetts Amherst.